Benefits of Therapeutic Massage from Widdoss Therapeutic Massage

Massage is a manual therapy that manipulates the soft tissues and decreases muscle tension, pain, stress and depression.

However, when posing the question, “What is massage?” it is common to hear the following replies: “Massage is such a luxury.” “Ah, massage, it is so relaxing.” “Massage is something I treat myself to on special occasions.” While all of these statements capture the idea of massage as a way to relax and to treat ourselves, none come close to touching on the essence of massage and its therapeutic benefits to body, mind and spirit.

Therapeutic benefits

Massage makes you feel and perform better. Massage has the following benefits:

  • Increases circulation;
  •  Enhances the immune system;
  •  Promotes nervous system functioning;
  •  Reduces blood pressure;
  •  Relieves pain and muscle tension;
  •  Improves mood, intellectual reasoning and job performance;
  •  Positive effect on conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes and migraine headaches.

Depending on the techniques used, massage can:

  • Stimulate the nervous system to help reduce muscle atrophy;
  •  Increase muscle tone;
  •  Stimulate the functions of the skin or an organ deep inside the body;
  •  Sedate the nervous system to help ease muscle tension, spasticity, stress-related symptoms and headaches;
  •  Boost the functioning of the immune system and maintains health when done regularly;
  •  Stimulate sluggish circulation or slow down the circulation of someone who has just run a marathon when using friction massage techniques;
  •  Allow better range of motion and support the connective tissue and muscles in becoming strong and healthy when doing simple joint movements and joint stretching.

The healing benefits of massage are important in our high-tech world because of our basic human need to be nurtured through touch. Touching and being touched is instinctual. For example, an injured animal will tend its wounds by licking or rubbing, a mother will comfort her crying child by stroking its head and patting its back, and a person with a toothache will rub and press the painful area to relieve congestion and pain.

The power of touch

The simple act of placing the hands on the body can itself encourage a person to thrive. Many studies have illustrated that without physical touch babies (human or animal) will not thrive and may not even survive. Touch also has a positive effect on caregivers. For example, mothers who regularly have a great deal of physical closeness with their babies experience postpartum depression to a far lesser degree, and elderly caregivers feel a decrease in stress, anxiety and depression when they touch and are touched.

Academic evidence

A landmark study conducted on rhesus monkeys by Harry Harlow in the 1950s noted that monkeys separated from their mothers soon after birth showed a greater need for tactile comfort than for eating. Since then, many studies have illustrated how touch and massage can assist infants, especially babies born prematurely, to survive, gain weight and thrive. It has also been shown that the caregivers who massaged the infants benefited as well.

Types of massage

Today there are a myriad of bodywork modalities including: Swedish massage; trigger point therapy; connective tissue release; myofascial release; shiatsu; reflexology.

Therapeutic massage

Therapeutic massage is designed to treat a specific condition, a licensed or certified professional is trained to assist with soft tissue injuries and dysfunctions, as well as support general recovery.

Be well

To feel better, relieve any discomfort, decrease stress levels, feel more relaxed and have a body that functions more efficiently, schedule regular appointments with your favorite massage therapist. Massage is not just for the rich, nor is it a treat reserved just for a special occasion. With the growing research base and the recognition of the benefits of massage in the healthcare arena, massage is a “kneaded” component of your wellness regimen.

Give us a call today to schedule your appointment, 205-394-5900, the therapists at Widdoss Therapeutic Massage are all licensed professional massage therapist.

Massage and sleep

Massage therapy has been shown to induce relaxation and calm, and it can also lead to a better night’s sleep.

Massage therapy leads to a feeling of relaxation and calm, and clients often report a sense of clarity and perspective. Not only does massage therapy feel good physically, but it also seems to hit a mental ‘reset button,’ leading to clearer thoughts and enhanced sleep.  Massage therapy can also manage two common sleep stealers: stress and pain. Massage therapy tackles stress on the physical level by easing muscle tightness and on the biochemical level by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol–prompting the release of endorphins, which make us feel good.

Massage therapy has been shown to mediate pain, which is very good news for people living with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.  The pain-lessening benefits of regular massage therapy lead to better sleep. Better sleep will ultimately give your body time to restore and heal.

Swedish massage therapy is what comes to mind when most people think about massage. One of the primary goals of Swedish massage is to relax the entire body, which is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. But Swedish massage is also exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins and improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.

A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin–a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes–white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds and the flu.

Swedish massage techniques also include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during a Swedish massage session, talking to the massage therapist will allow the massage to be customized.

A wide variety of massage services are available at Widdoss Therapeutic Massage, including Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, reflexology, trigger point therapy, sports massage, Deep Muscle Therapy, prenatal massage, and AromaTherapy.

Give us a call today at 205-394-5900 and schedule your appointment, then prepare to experience a better nights sleep!

Timing is Key to Massage Benefits for Neck Pain

Massage can relieve neck pain if it’s done often by a professional therapist and for the correct length of time, according to new research.

One-hour sessions two or three times a week appear to be best, said study researcher Karen Sherman, senior scientific investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.

“In the short term, 60 minutes of massage is better than 30, and you want to do multiple treatments a week for the first four weeks,” she said.

Her study, which tested the effects of a month of massage, is published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Persistent neck pain is common and stems from numerous causes — car accidents, sleeping in awkward positions or spending hours hunched over a computer, among them, Sherman said.

Doctors often recommend anti-inflammatory medicines, but these drugs frequently don’t provide enough relief, she noted. “People with back and neck pain aren’t usually satisfied with what they get from their doctor, so they are looking around for something that works,” Sherman explained.

Previous studies of massage for neck pain have produced conflicting results, so Sherman’s team decided to look closer. Specifically, they wanted to determine what dose of massage is ideal. In a previous study, Sherman had found that benefits of massage were evident after four weeks.

For the new study, she randomly assigned 228 men and women, aged 20 to 64, to one of six groups. These included 30-minute massages two or three times weekly, one-hour massages one, two or three times weekly, and a comparison group receiving no massage.

Assessing neck functioning and pain levels a week after treatment ended, the researchers determined that patients getting one hour of massage three times a week showed the most gains after four weeks of massage.

Compared to those who got no massage, “people getting massage three times a week were almost five times as likely to have a clinically meaningful (meaning important or noticeable) improvement in function and over twice as likely to report a clinically meaningful decrease in pain,” Sherman said.

Many patients who get therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain may not reap benefits if they undergo shorter or less frequent sessions, the authors suggested.

Jeanette Ezzo, a massage therapist and researcher in Takoma Park, Md., called the study “an important contribution to understanding the massage dosage necessary to relieve neck pain.” Ezzo has published research on the effectiveness of complementary medicine practices, including massage.

Nationwide, the average cost for a one-hour massage by a professional massage therapist is $65, according to the American Massage Therapy Association. However, in large cities the fee can be much higher.

Insurance coverage varies, said Sherman. Whether massage therapy would work in elderly patients isn’t known as the average age of her patients was in the 40s.

Sherman cautioned against having a family member or friend attempt to massage away your neck pain. “We used extremely experienced massage therapists,” she said. Treatment sessions also assessed range of motion and looked at how the patient’s body compensated for the neck pain, which the average person is unable to do, she said.

Dr. Fredrick Wilson, a spine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, stressed the need to use a professional massage therapist. “If done incorrectly, [massage] can actually cause muscle tightening and spasm,” he said.

For neck or back pain, “it seems the training and experience make a difference in the amount of pain relief patients get,” he added.

However, Wilson said he is waiting for a study that shows longer-lasting effects before he recommends massage for patients complaining of neck pain. The authors agreed that studies with longer follow-up are warranted.

People with chronic neck pain might also ask their doctor about special neck exercises, Sherman said.

Neck pain accounts for more than 10 million medical visits a year in the United States, according to background information in the study. When patients were followed up one to five years later, at least half reported persistent or recurrent problems, previous studies found.

Back relief from massage not pain meds!

Massage can provide effective relief from low back pain!  A study published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine suggests massage might alleviate back pain better than traditional approached such as medication, exercise and bed rest.

The study involved 400 patients who had low back pain. The vast majority were middle aged Caucasian females. They discovered that those who were given a series of massage sessions were able to better return to their normal activities of daily living and work. What surprised the researchers was that the improvement was superior to conventional medical care, such as muscle relaxers, pain medication and physical therapy.

During our massage career we’ve helped clients that suffered with neck and back pain.  Several of our clients could be a poster child for what massage can do. They have been so impressed with what massage did for them, they told all of their friends and neighbors about the benefits for massage and what it did to give them their life back.

Another study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, came to the same conclusion after a 10 week project.  Over 33 percent of the patients given massage therapy indicated that their pain was much improved or even eliminated completely. This was in comparison to only one in 25 patients who were given conventional care. In addition, they were more likely to have spent less time in bed and used less pain medication.

One of the more encouraging elements of the study was that the beneficial effects of the massage seemed not only to be experienced during the research period, but also lingered for a time following the completion of the therapy. This was evidenced by the lingering effect of massage continued to display improvement in function for several months after the study’s onset.

Sometimes the benefit of massage only lasts 3 days, other times the relief lasts up to 10.

There will always be members of the medical community that will continue to be reluctant to accept the benefits as being valid. As younger physicians enter the medical field with training in the benefits of alternative medicine, this may change.

Why not try massage as an alternative to toxic medications?  Give us a call today at 205-394-5900 or visit our website at to find a healthier alternative to medication.

Defeat Depression with Massage

Taking time for massage is as important for people dealing with depression as it is for people dealing with arthritis, sports injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome. WebMD reviewed more than a dozen studies that revealed how massage can fight depression by lowering cortisol levels.

Cortisol is the body’s response to stress, and massage therapy lowers it by as much as 50%. At the same time, massage also can increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that help stabilize your mood.

Results of Massage

The International Journal of Neuroscience studied a group of people with spinal cord injuries who were also suffering from depression. Twice a week for five weeks, half the patients received two 40-minute sessions of motion exercises while the other half received two 40-minute massages.

Both groups improved their physical abilities during that time, but the people who received massage therapy also became less depressed. So even while exercise has long been accepted as a means of combating depression, massage not only provides additional benefits but can also relieve stiffness and soreness resulting from physical exercise.

Commitment to Well-Being

Sometimes it can be difficult to make time for taking care of yourself, but scheduling appointments allows you to find an effective way to budget your time, your money, and focus on the attention to your wellness. Ongoing massage therapy promotes a relaxed state of mental alertness, which reinforces a positive attitude.

Reserving some specific time for a professional massage, customized to address your personal needs, makes it easier to remember that you deserve to feel good and that you’re taking important steps to make it happen.

Widdoss Therapeutic Massage is here to help!  Give us a call today at 205-394-5900 to schedule your appointment with one of our professional therapists.

Massage and Sleep – the perfect combination!

Quality sleep is vital to health and wellness.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

“Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome. Moreover, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related crashes, causing substantial injury and disability each year. In short, drowsy driving can be as dangerous—and preventable—as driving while intoxicated.”

It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep issues that affect their health.

Research is indicating that massage can improve sleep in:

  • children and adolescents
  • those with psychiatric disorders
  • those who are hospitalized or institutionalized
  • those with lower back pain
  • adults
  • those with cerebral palsy
  • those with fibromyalgia
  • those with insominia
  • those in pain
  • those with hand pain
  • those with cancer
  • infants
  • infants with dyssomnia
  • those who have had heart surgery
  • those with breast disease
  • those with migraines
  • caretakers of hospitalized individuals
  • the elderly

Give us a call today at 205-394-5900 and experience a massage from one of our professional licensed massage therapist or visit our website at fill out a contact form and we will call you.

Couple’s Massage for Valentine’s Day

Are you looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?  We can help you with that!

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show that special someone how much you loved them. The healing power of human touch through the technique of regular massage has proven to lower stress, alleviate pain, improve mood and increase overall wellness.

Massage therapy is known to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increase the production of “relaxing hormones” such as oxytocin in men and serotonin in women.

We see so many more people coming into our massage office around Valentine’s Day because they want to treat themselves or their significant other to a relaxing massage experience, massage is the perfect gift!  It boosts your mood and benefits your body.

A shared massage experience is another way to strengthen the bonds between couples. More couples have become Couples Massage because it allows them to share the experience with a loving partner.

Give us a call today at 205-394-5900 to schedule your appointment for a Couple’s Massage or visit our website at fill out a contact form and we will call you.

Seasonal Depression and Massage

Did you know that 10-15 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression brought on by winter’s darker days? In addition to depression, SAD can cause fatigue, irritability, erratic appetite and sleep, loss of libido, and a weakened immune system. Fortunately, SAD is often treatable through a combination of therapies and lifestyle changes, including massage therapy, which has been proven to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, hormones responsible for mood elevation and improved appetite and sleep.

A recent study found that the sense of sight is trumped by the sense of touch in people suffering from depression.   As reported by science writer Jena Pincott, he concluded that touching and being touched are restorative because they signal the presence of a protector.

Contrary to common thoughts and beliefs, massage therapy is a healthy and affordable complement to traditional medicine.  The cumulative benefits of monthly massages for treating the winter blues and the more serious SAD can be combated because the massage releases endorphin and elevates energy boosts all while lowering of cortisol levels.  Regularly spending 60-90 minutes of uninterrupted time with a professional who is supportive and comforting may be the answer to many types of depression.

Give us a call today at 205-394-5900 and we will schedule a therapeutic massage with one professional licensed therapists, or visit our website at fill out a contact form and we will call you.

Massage and Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is approaching and many people explore the idea of giving the gift of massage or scheduling a Couple’s Massage.  Did you know that massage therapy is beneficial in various ways and is no longer only available in upscale health clubs or luxury spas?  The Mayo Clinic notes that while more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, it may be helpful for a variety of health ailments.

In addition to easing sore muscles, reducing joint pain and helping soft tissue strains or injuries, massage can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and calm feelings of stress. Massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lift spirits and can often lower blood pressure. Massage also may help to boost the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with depression.

According to Health magazine, massage also can help promote healthy sleep. It has something to do with the effect of massage on delta waves, which are the brain waves connected to deep sleep. There is some evidence that massage can also increase white blood cell counts, promoting improved immunity.

Many people rely on massages to relieve pain. According to a report published in 2011 in the American College of Physicians’ massage helps people in pain feel and function better than those who do not receive treatment. Massage can alleviate stiffness and pain and promote a better range of motion. And pain relief is not just for the back, arms and legs. Massage can reduce risk for migraines and decrease pain from tension headaches.

Massage even has beauty benefits. Rubbing the face and scalp can promote blood flow and encourage lymphatic drainage. This can add vitality to the complexion and plump up the skin. Dull hair may appear more shiny and revitalized.

People can explore different types of massage and experiment with what works best for their ailments. Everything from Swedish massage to reflexology is offered at Widdoss Therapeutic Massage.

The gift of a massage session can be romantic and improve one’s overall health – give us a call today at 205-394-5900 or visit our website at

Feeling Stressed – benefits of massage

Feeling stressed after a long day of work? Head to Widdoss Therapeutic Massage for a massage!  Here are some of the amazing benefits massage has to offer:

Boosts energy: A massage therapy can help reduce your fatigue by eliminating blockages in the body’s meridians or invisible energy lines. It also helps to increase mental alertness.

Boosts immunity: Massage therapies increase the response of lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell, which improves the body’s resistance to diseases.

Relaxes body: Going in for a body massage helps relieve pain by healing damaged muscle tissues. It improves blood circulation leading to increased supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the muscles.

Reduces anxiety: Massage therapies reduce anxiety by lowering levels of the stress-hormone, cortisol and increasing levels of serotonin, the happiness hormone in the body. They are also effective in lowering blood pressure.

De-toxify your body: Sweat is essential for the skin to eliminate toxins. Going in for spa therapies like body wraps promote sweating, which detoxifies the body and restores metabolism to its normal state.

For a glowing skin: If you are attending a wedding, make sure you head for a massage prior to the function. Spa therapies like facials and body polishes uses gentle exfoliation techniques to remove dead skin cells and stimulate new cell growth which gives you healthy, glowing skin.

Anti-aging properties: Body wraps and anti-aging facials firm up loose skin and treat the unsightly appearance of cellulite, revealing younger-looking skin.

Call us today at 205-394-5900 or visit our website at fill out a contact form and we will call you!